Ixion Saga: Dimensional Transfer Review

This is review number one hundred and seventy seven. This is part of the Fall 2012 lineup. One more anime to go and I’ll be done with 2012 in the meantime. Aside from season 2s and those 50 plus episodes, I am pretty much done with the 2012 lineup. Anyways, the anime I’ll be reviewing is Ixion Saga Dimensional Transfer. It’s a twenty five episode anime about a dude being sent in a new world and fighting to get back. There is also a transsexual in the anime so that’s pretty great, right? Let’s read on.

Story

The anime is about Kon Hokaze who is pretty much a shut in gamer who spends his day on his computer. One day, a girl call chatted with him and asked for his help. He agreed and before he knew it, he was sent from his room to a whole new world. It’s a world full of monsters, soldiers and powerful warriors completely different from his own world. He wants to go back home but he doesn’t know how. He then agreed to become a temporary knight of a princess named Ecarlate as they journey across the continent and maybe get a chance to know someone who can send him back home. Kon is there for a reason though and his journey would change this other world’s fate.

Taking the Pants Off

This is probably the overlooked anime of the Fall lineup. I certainly had no idea what it’s about and never heard any buzz around. It’s no denying the season had some hard hitters like Psycho Pass and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure so an Action/Fantasy/Adventure anime with a predictable premise would understandably swept under the rug. The interesting part about this show is that it’s adapted from an online game called Ixion Saga by Capcom. I haven’t tried my hands at a lot of video games anime so I was pretty excited to try this one. I was honestly expecting cliché to dictate the progression of the anime but I believe the creators expected that as well so they decided to shake the anime up a bit. What do you expect from an anime with a guy sent to another world trying to get back home while having an RPG-like adventure with some companions along the way? How about something like this:

ixion24

This, my dear friends, is Ixion Saga DT.

The anime has three plot points spread evenly in the anime. These are the primary focus of the anime and I say “primary” because the anime is a bit incomprehensible at times. I’ll explain it later. For now, there are three plot points. The first one is about Kon’s journey in this new world. This new world is like a very cool RPG full of monsters and people trying to hurt the good guys. Kon is sent to this world reasons unknown to him and he is now trying to get back home. This plot point is mostly concerned about Kon piecing small leads on how to get back home and it also concerns the slow revelation of why he was in the world in the first place. Of course, the guy is actually a chosen one with powers no ordinary person of the world can normally do. It would seem that Kon’s journey isn’t as simple as he expected.

The second plot point is about the princess of St. Piria, Escarlate, on a journey trying to go to her fiancé’s kingdom so their marriage can proceed. The nations of this world is currently at an unstable tension that a small argument can spark a war so Escarlate has agreed to marry the prince of Jugglaburk to cease the impeding rise of a struggle between the nations. She is accompanied by her two trusted warriors as she tries to reach her fiancé’s kingdom. There are people that want her dead though because they have plans that can only be set to motion if a war erupted so they sent various assassins to try and kill Escarlate on her journey. It would seem that Escarlate’s unfortunate role in the political balance of the world is now threatened by evil forces that are as relentless as she is.

The third plot point is about the Incognito force. They are one of the groups trying to kill the princess as ordered by their superiors. They are considered the bad guys in the anime and they do a lot of things to impede the journey of Kon and Escarlate. This plot point is mostly focused with the intense rivalry between the leader of the group, Erecpyle, and Kon who has bested him countless times. Erecpyle’s obsession with defeating Kon is causing the stability of the group of become unstable and the members of Incognito are now showing signs of doubt and concern over their leader. The dysfunctional relationship of the group is highlighted and their eventual role in the story is slowly questioned.

No matter how you look at it, this show is really predictable. I mean, really, an anime about a guy thrown in another world where he becomes a hero then goes on a journey while some bad guys constantly fights him isn’t really the most original idea there is. This reeks of 90s cliché where Adventure/Fantasy stories like these are rampant. Nowadays, it’s either moe or fanservice so it’s certainly a surprise the anime had none. It’s just a straight forward story of heroism, adventure and good triumphing over evil. With such a cliché story though, the smart thing to do is to cram the show with a lot of action and adventure, right? We’ll have the characters full embrace the RPG setup and fight strong monsters and level up. We’ll focus on their journey as they slowly bond together and reveal their back stories, right? We’ll steadily build up a showdown against the final boss that explodes in the final episode of the anime, right? Right?! After all, it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.

For Ixion Saga DT though, it’s neither about the journey or the destination. It’s about the goddamn characters.

The anime had a cliché story and that is certainly a problem. It’s pretty redeemable though if done correctly. The anime doesn’t want to try though and instead of an anime with an Action/Adventure/Fantasy packed progression, the show is more focused on the characters various quirks, sexual preferences, and just their downright stupidity. In a sense, the anime was able to claw out of the cliché hole it started out it but it sacrificed the story heavily to do so. This show is not about the story. Despite its cliché yet nicely founded premise, it’s about the characters and their everyday misadventures in this new world. After all, fighting is too much of a hassle. Let’s just focus on various stupid things like the unusual fetishes of the characters, the idiotic personality of the characters and their outrageous group dynamic. This show is more about Comedy and Parody than anything else.

It does still have the main plot points in mind but it slowly steer off track during some of the episodes. Their journey would often lead into the characters founding a cult or suddenly playing volleyball or telling stories that absolutely do not lead to anything. There are episodes about karaoke, gambling and even a day at the beach. The story is clearly not the priority of the anime. It’s smart, I guess, because it can rely on the cliché while trying something stupid.

The characters are the main focus of the anime. They cling on to the generic stereotype that they had in the cliché story. There is the main hero, the princess, the bad guys and the various good guys. The anime utilized their generic qualities pretty smartly because they needed that to deliver some pretty outrageous additions to the characters. The hero, for example, is a shut in otaku who complains about every little thing and is actually the very first one to say “Goddamn it, that’s cliché and stupid”. Most princesses would be a stunning damsel in distress, right? The one in the anime is an eight year old girl with a pretty demoralizing poker face. What about the two knights by the princess’ side? One of them has a cat obsession. The other is a f*ckin transgender. As you can clearly see, the show is slowly going off track and entering something sinister and incomprehensibly dumb. This was the beautiful thing about the anime though. You can just never expect anything to be straight forward despite the story being predictable. Oh who gives a sh*t about saving the world? Let’s get this group in a karaoke booth and have them so dunk that they’ll be singing about how they love cats.

ixion1

I do understand that this approach of the anime is a bit double sided. Yeah, it managed to be different from the cliché it started out with but it has now transformed into something you cannot take seriously. I do not blame people if they do not like the anime because it’s basically doing everything it can to embarrass just to be different. There are really only two things that’ll happen afterwards. You’ll either accept the anime as the zany piece of an RPG spoof as it is or you’ll absolutely hate it because it’s just too stupid to watch. A little open mindedness can go a long way with this anime because the show relies on its characters and they don’t really start to grow on you if you don’t constantly watch them what they do best, be absurdly interesting.

This is a Comedy and Parody anime and I think it’s really nicely done. The anime had a lot of great moments thanks to the characters. The interaction between them and just their sheer stupidity is enough to make scenes really funny. I admittedly found myself laughing in a lot of scenes because they just pop out randomly to catch you off guard. The anime nicely setup you up for an RPG like story but it keeps betraying your expectations and it really made a lot of scenes that much funnier. As the anime progresses, the characters just easily grow on you and their various quirks were something you’d expect to just get better each time. Of course, Comedy is fickle though. The same Comedy I’m praising is also the same thing that makes the anime stupid. If you don’t enjoy the story taking a major hit just so the anime can be funny, then you won’t enjoy this anime. The show abandons a lot and leaves logic out the door during some episodes. I also personally feel the characters are often trying too hard to be funny. I felt that the most during the first half of the anime where I didn’t expect the show to be more Comedy. It takes a getting used to but I really thing the show has enough to be truly enjoyable.

This is a really surprising anime in a lot of ways. The predictable story was given an interesting twist by the anime because of how it played with a lot of tropes found in anime. I personally didn’t expect to be entertained by this anime but here I am now giving it a lot of praise. This is certainly the hidden gem of the Fall lineup and it’s a shame that it was overlooked after all this time. Something this weird and stupid and brilliant is something that people should really try. It’s certainly not perfect but it’s a solid anime that has a lot of good points.

Sight and Sound

The character design is pretty decent. These are the typical characters you’d expect in an Adventure anime. There is a wide range of characters though from bishies and bishoujos to overly muscular characters and the slender main hero type. There is also a loli in the anime and many more quirky characters along the way. They are nicely designed and the stereotype they possess made it easier to appreciate the characters. The outfits of the characters are really nice. There is also a nice range of outfits here that really captured the RPG aspect of the anime. There are the typical commoner clothes but then there are also those imperial uniforms that are nicely designed. There is the typical heavy armor you see in RPG and the various clothes of royalties and religious figures in the anime as well. It’s a large world that the anime is in and the characters are nicely expressing that fact through their outfits.

The sceneries in the anime are outstanding. Again, they capture the RPG appeal of the anime. A lot of places the characters visit are really amazingly conceived and I feel like they tell a story with how they are designed. Every place has personality that works great in an RPG. The places capture the landscape they are in and it has an interesting personality just like the characters. The beauty of the places really made me want to go explore it myself and it’s one of the reasons why the anime was pretty fun to watch. It’s always a treat to see just how beautiful the next place will be and it really enhances the journey of the characters. The journey is truly a long one because of how different each place looks like. The nice combination of technology and RPG lore in some places was also nicely mixed in to give the places a unique style. The anime was adapted from a game so it’s no surprise that the places have tremendous details.

The designs on the monsters are pretty nice as well. There aren’t a lot of them but they also nicely capture the RPG appeal of the anime. If the anime was more into the battles then I’m sure we would’ve gotten more intimidating monsters. Most of the monsters are dinosaur like with fierce faces and aggressive styles that fits nicely in the adventure feel of the anime. The various creatures featured in the show are nicely conceived as well. From flying dwarves to massive pigeons, the anime is never short in terms of imagination for the monsters.

The animation is a bit poor. You can tell during the first half that most details of the characters aren’t featured in some scenes like in fighting scenes and such. You can see their faces being altered at times and you can see their movements are often not as smooth. The animation varies from good to decent to bad at various episodes. The lack of bright colors in the anime also made it look cheap. There is enough movement to tell the story but not enough to make the awesomeness of the anime feel legit. The fight scenes are OK but not enough to really catch your attention. Again, good enough to tell the story but it still sucks.

The anime’s OP is “DT Suteru” by Golden Ixion Bomber DT. This is sung by some of the characters in the anime. There are a lot of talented voice actors in the anime and they really showed their stuff in the OP song. The other version of the song is led by Kon’s voice actor himself. The song is a nice Shounen song that captures the spirit of the anime. It’s vibrant and sounds really heroic which fits great in the anime. The OP sequence features all three plot points and their eventual progression. It pretty much captured the story of the anime without giving anything away.

The anime had three ED. The first one is “Let’s Go ED” by Golden Ixion Bomber DT. I love this song because it’s about the Incognito group just singing wildly in the ED. They all have lovely voices that are sheer orgasmic and I love how the song itself sounds pretty bad ass. The ED sequence features the Incognito group randomly being hot and striking poses. The second ED is “DT Ondo” by DT group. This one sounds like a festival song. It’s a bit hard to explain but the same singers did the song and it has a festive vibrant mood to it. The sequence features the characters dancing in a bon fire at a festival. I think this is another random shtick of the anime and it is nicely done. The last one is “Stand Up! ED” by ED group. It’s the same singers as well doing another manly song for the ED. It’s like the first ED song but there is a funny implication in this one. I won’t spoil it but it’s pretty funny. The sequence relates to the song as well. It again features the same dudes doing poses and such.

Overall Score

6/10 “Poking fun at the cliché and the stereotypical is the thing that makes this anime great.”

I really enjoyed this show. It’s a bit stupid but that is also one of its greatest aspects. If you enjoy Comedy anime with the story often going out of control then you’ll enjoy this anime. If you like characters that are unpredictable and utterly funny then this show will suit you as well. The anime may look unremarkable but it’s actually one of the reasons why it’s just so amazing. I recommend it.

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